Jaagar Legacy of Uttarakhand
Thu. Dec 27th, 2018

Jaagar : The Legacy of Uttarakhand

Jaagar : The Legacy of Uttarakhand


Jaagar is a form of ancestral spiritual worship practiced in the hills of Uttarakhand, Kumaon and Gharwal. The word Jaagar comes from Sanskrit, Jaga means to wake up. Jaagar is a means or a way in which local gods and deities are called or awakened from their stage of inactivity and have asked for favors or remedies for certain problems that affect the person.

It is attached to the idea of divine justice and is organized to seek penance for a crime or to obtain justice from the gods for some injustice.

Music is the means by which the gods are invoked.  These traditions are part of a dominant type of popular Hinduism, in fact throughout the Himalayas, which has existed for centuries with mainstream Hinduism.

The harsh life of the Himalayan constant exposure and the whims of nature has inspired a strong belief in the paranormal and in many Folkloric Gods who have received great respect and reverence. Each village had its own protecting god from its borders called Bhumyal or Kshetrapal, each family has its Kul Devi Devta and many other malicious and benevolent goddesses and spirits that could reward or torment people and had to be soothed.

It also shows a similarity to the shamanic traditions that prevail in ancient traditions around the world. Although the majority was lost due to mega-religions, Hinduism with the traditions kul devi / kul devta allowed it to develop in India.

The isolation of the Himalayas from Kumaon and Garhwal has fostered the emergence of local religious traditions still strong in these areas, as well as traditional Hinduism.

The Jaagar ceremonies are of two types: one is Dev Jaagar, invoking a god, local gods usually in the middle body and the other is Bhoot Jaagar, the invocation of a deceased person, the spirit or the soul in the middle body, although other forms such as Masan Puja also exist.

Today, the Jaagar are considered more as a cultural and musical heritage to preserve than the religious ceremony itself. But it is still very revered, especially in rural areas and in New Delhi, because many Kumauni and Ghadwali live in Delhi, so they can not go to villages every year in Jaagar, so also started Jaagar in Delhi, the Uttrakhand’s main god. People Bhairo, Gweil, Bhumia, Ramul, Kalbisht, Narsingh, Naag or more. These are the powerful ones that exist on this planet, but the power comes from the human body when jaagar begins. All power lives in our universe. The Jaagar shows that Hinduism is the oldest religion on this planet, the Jaagar always occur in the same way that began thousands of years ago in the Himalayas in Sanskrit languages Kumaoni, Ghadwali. In terms of science, we can say that power comes from the human body of another planet.

During years of evolution, Jaagar’s song has evolved into a highly valued art whose exhibitors are often advertised as living legacies.

As we all know, Uttarakhand is called the Land of God and God is present in every part. Uttarakhand is the home of Lord Shiva and his in-laws. The Vedas and Puranas also consider that the Himalayas, located in Uttarakhand, is the home of all Gods and Goddesses.

All these Gods and Goddesses occupy a special place in our culture and our traditions. It is believed that in Uttarakhand, Gods and Goddesses come to solve all our problems in the form of a pure body, and this process is known as Jaagar. It means reliving an invisible spirit (Gods and Goddesses) and inviting them to take charge of the body of a particular person. For this, Jagariya uses Jaagar, who describes the life and work of God. The hudka musical instrument and brass plates are the main components.

Jaagar can be of several types. The one that lasts a day is called Jaagar. The Chauras lasts 4 days. Baisi lasts 22 days.There are three main people in the process:






It is the person who revives the invisible soul. His job is to tell the story of life, the main incidents of life and the human qualities of God, to sing in a particular way with a musical instrument, to revive the spirit and to obtain it in the body of Dangariya. He obliges God to go around the flame four times and asks him to respond to the wishes of the one who placed the Jaagar. This task is mainly done by Harijans and he is a respectable person in society. For this task, the person placing the Jaagar uses new clothes and a white jacket. Jagariya must also take care of his eating habits.


He is a person in whom the spirit of God is incarnated. This person is considered as the one who shows the way. When the spirit of God is incarnated in the dangariya, his body trembles and begins to solve the problems of the victim. Meanwhile, he is considered to have equal powers to God.

Dangariya is considered an important person in society and is respected by all. The daily routine of this person is different from that of normal people. He has to bathe and do all the rituals to play poja every day. He must also take care to always eat pure. Even the tea you drink should come from a special place. If he makes a mistake, God can get angry and punish him. In the Jaagar too, participate only after eating and purifying with cow’s milk, currant and cow’s urine.


The owner of the house where jaagar, chauras or baisi is celebrated is called syonkar and his wife is called Syonnai. They send their problems to God and place grains of rice in front of him. God takes these grains in their hands and tells them the solution to their problems.

Dhuni for Jaagar

It is important to do a Dhuni for Jaagar. For this, people take a bath and purify themselves under the supervision of a pandit. They choose a pure place and give it a cow. Then a circular well is dug and logs of wood are placed. Around this, cow manure and termite soil are placed. This is lit before the Jaagar when the shell is blown. Any unclean person and shoes are forbidden in this Dhuni.

Behind Jaagar’s performance, there is the deeply rooted belief of the people of Uttarakhand in divine justice and the law of “Karma”. That evil deeds will be visited by the maker and that justice will finally be rendered by the gods. In addition to the religious point of view, Jaagar’s songs and singing styles are an integral part of Uttarakhand’s cultural heritage.


The ballads of the various gods sung during the Jaagar are part of the vast popular literature of the Kumaoni language and the Gharwali language currently collected to preserve it.

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